Complimenting or correcting with cannabis?

Complimenting or correcting with cannabis?

While the debate was recently opened through a study whether Sativa and Indica is really the best way to distinguish cannabis, we can all agree different varieties have different ways how they affect you.

As such, a question came to my mind whether I (and you) compliment our personalities or correct our personalities with different kind of varieties.

Let's say for the sake of argument, you're a very energetic person. Do you steer towards Sativas because they compliment you're already energetic personality, or do you correct your energy by slowing down with Indica varieties?

Some people will find one variety works best for them, whether it's daytime or night time. While others will generally prefer Sativa throughout the day and switch to more Indica leaning hybrids in the evening.

There's much more to choose from than just Sativa and Indica

And it goes further than just Sativa and Indica. Because after all, we've progressed from Thai sticks and Jamaican to name a few. Nowadays, you can find cannabis in legal areas which has product information on the packaging. Besides showing whether it is more of a Sativa or Indica leaning product, it (should) also show(s) the cannabinoid content and terpenes.

Like mentioned in the introduction, the way of distinguishing cannabis by Sativa and Indica might very well be complete nonsense. Well respected researcher in the field of cannabis Dr. Ethan B. Russo, talked about it back in 2016 in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal:

"There are biochemically distinct strains of Cannabis, but the Sativa/Indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility. One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given Cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology. The degree of interbreeding/hybridization is such that only a biochemical assay tells a potential consumer or scientist what is really in the plant."

And then there's also the multiple ways how you can ingest the various products. Whether it's through smoking, a vaporizer, an edible, dabbing (also vaping) and even as a balm.

Personally, I gravitate towards heavy Indicas, in smoked or vaporized (dabable) form. While at daytime I will use a variety or product which doesn't contain as much THC and is more likely to have more CBD. Usually hashish, but properly grown outdoor cannabis also works great for me at daytime.

THC & CBD Health Benefits
THC & CBD Health Benefits

On Terpenes and science

Apart from the well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD and the lesser known cannabinoids like CBN and CBG, there's also terpenes.

Terpenes are what gives the flavour and taste to cannabis and is likely to do much more than that. In fact, it might be the terpenes are actually more important than the cannabinoids content.

As the author of this Leafly article put it well: ‘If THC is the engine, Terpenes are the steering wheel and tires.’

Terpenes, like cannabinoids, bind to receptors in the brain. This, in turn, will affect how the cannabis product will work for you.

How to consume cannabis

To get the most out of your preferred variety, it might be wise to reconsider how you consume cannabis. A recently (2019) published study revealed that 75% of THC (and likely other cannabis components) are able to enter your lungs if you decide to dab hash oil, while if you smoke it 75% will be lost the moment it enters your lungs.

It should be noted that dabbing at low temperatures is recommended, over high temperatures, to get the most out of your hash oil. You will also notice a much better flavour.

Vaporizing works better than smoking, but is less effective than dabbing.

And then there’s edibles, digestible oils (and tinctures) and you can even consume cannabis raw.

While they might be (or less than found in that study) more effective in getting the most out of the plant, the effect also lasts longer than smoked, vaped or dabbed cannabis.

How to find out what works best for you

It might take a while to find out what works best for you. And even if you have found out what works best for you, the specific variety might not be available or accessible for you throughout your lifetime. While researching this subject, I was reminded by a technique explained by James Burton who founded the Stichting Institute of Medical Marijuana (SIMM) in the Netherlands (which unfortunately does not exist any more). Even if it’s not for medical reasons, the technique could prove useful to you.

When a new patient would contact SIMM, they would be invited over. After explaining their situation, they would be offered three varieties which were thought to be helpful. After a couple of weeks, the patient would return to discuss which variety worked best. Based on the findings, they would be offered another three varieties based on whichever one worked best. A couple of weeks later, they would return again and this process was done one more time.

Cannabis Terpenes and how-do they affect you
Cannabis Terpenes and how-do they affect you

Through this process, they were able to pinpoint with precision which variety worked best for the patient. Instead of serving a ‘one size fits all’ solution by only looking at the condition of the patient, the patient would be looked upon as an individual. Much better, as cannabis (and the different varieties) work differently on different people.

Don’t have so many options? Plan a sample trip

Not everyone has this much choice, however. And especially if you have to grow it all yourself, it might take years before you find that one variety that really fits you perfectly.

Luckily you can actually visit legal areas (Canada or one of the 11 States as of writing in the United States) or semi-legal areas (coffee shops in The Netherlands or Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain) and sample many different varieties on your visit.

Taking notes, you can return home and go through your notes which variety worked wonders for you. Afterwards, you can grow one of these (or some) varieties at home so you have a constant supply.

You’re your own guinea pig

In the end, the science isn’t completely in yet. And it might never provide a better answer than you playing guinea pig on yourself. For some, the answer might simply be they prefer THC over CBD or vice versa. While for therapeutic use, the answer might be variety does the trick as it does for your diet.

Text by: Mauro Picavet
The Stoned Society